The Army made no attempt to ascertain the identity of the civilians returning from work on a pick-up truck before shooting them in Nagaland’s Mon on Saturday, a joint report by the state’s Director General of Police (DGP) T John Longkumer and Commissioner Rovilatuo Mor has said.
Quoting eyewitnesses, the two top officials have said villagers found the Army’s special forces trying to “hide” the bodies of six people by wrapping and loading them on a pick-up van with the intention of taking them to their base camp.
“On the evening of 4th December around 1610 hours, when eight villagers were returning home from coal mining work at Tiru in a pick-up truck, were ambushed and killed by Security Forces (reportedly, 21st Para Special Force based in Assam) at random, apparently without any attempt for identification," the report, submitted to the state government on Sunday, said.
The officials said the victims were all unarmed civilians working in coal mines. Of them, six were killed on the spot and two critically injured.
On hearing the gunshots, the villagers went to the spot. “On reaching the spot, they found the pick-up truck and the special forces personnel trying to hide the dead bodies of the six villagers by wrapping and loading them in another pick-up truck (Tata Mobile) apparently with the intention of taking the dead bodies to their base camp,” the officials have said in the report.
Violence broke out between the villagers and security forces when they discovered the bodies covered with tarpaulin sheets. Angry people then set on fire three vehicles of the security forces, the report said.
“In the melee, the security personnel again opened fire against the villagers which led to the death of seven more villagers and eyewitnesses have confirmed that the special forces personnel opened fire indiscriminately as they fled from the scene towards Assam side even firing in the coal mine hutments on the way,” they said.
Acknowledging that the first incident was a “case of mistaken identity”, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had told Parliament on Monday.
The Nagaland Police on its own filed an FIR against the 21st Para Special Force of the Army on Monday.
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